Responsiveness to a surrogate nipple providing water, 0.1% saccharin, 10% sucrose, pedialyte, or milk was tested in naïve-to-suckling newborn rats during six 10-min exposures, one every 1.5 h over a 7.5 h period. Across a succession of exposures, newborn rats repeatedly attached to and ingested milk from a surrogate nipple, yielding significant body weight gain and increased concentration of blood plasma glucose. Initially, pups ingested considerable amounts of saccharin and sucrose, but then dramatically decreased their consumption of these fluids across the experimental sessions. Intake of milk was significantly higher than that of all other substances. Blood glucose concentration in pups treated with water, saccharin, sucrose, and pedialyte did not differ significantly from that of non-treated pups. The present data suggest a potential contribution of a fluid's palatability and nutritive value in the persistence and efficacy of diet intake for neonatal rats in the context of suckling behavior.